IITA Bulletin 2213

IITA Bulletin 2213
IITA Bulletin 2213
IITA Bulletin 2213
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IITA Bulletin Issue No. 2213, covering week of 24 - 28 February 2014

Transcript of IITA Bulletin 2213

  • THE




    Issue No. 2213 24-28 February 2014


    Got a story to share? Please email it with photos and captions to Andrea Gros (a.gros@cgiar.org), Katherine Lopez (k.lopez@cgiar.org), Jeffrey T. Oliver (j.oliver@cgiar.org), Godwin Atser (g.atser@cgiar.org), or Catherine Njuguna (c.njuguna@cgiar.org).

    Yam Day at IITA celebrates the importance of yam as a sociocultural and economic crop.

    Yam day: a celebration of yamThe IITA Conference Center was a sea of green with over a hundred people dressed in the attire of the Daya shirt made of the local traditional cloth called adire that had YIIFSWA and Yams for livelihoods printed on it. More than a hundred participants including local authorities, farmers and, agricultural development programs (ADP) extension agents from all over Oyo state were present at Yam Day, a YIIFSWA-hosted event held at IITA on 22 February. YIIFSWA, which stands for Yam

    Improvement for Income and Food Security for West Africa, is a 5-year project geared towards improving production and processing of the crop. The project is funded by the Gates

    Foundation and is implemented in Nigeria and Ghana by IITA in partnership with a consortium of national and international Research and Development partners, namely the National Root Crops Research Institute (Nigeria), Crops Research Institute (Ghana), the Natural Resources Institute (UK), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, Catholic Relief Services, and Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary, in collaboration with service provider organizations, the private sector, farmers, and yam traders.Yam Day was held to celebrate yam, the

    king of crops and to showcase some of YIIFSWAs achievements since the project was launched 2 years ago. It came at the end of a week-long annual review and planning workshop held at IITA headquarters and attended by implementing project partners and other stakeholders. The workshop was held back to back with the meeting of the YIIFSWA Technical

    Advisory Committee (TAC). Important guests on Yam Day included

    Mrs Christie I. Popoola, Director of Community Development, Ministry of Women Affairs; Baba Baale idi-ose, Oloyede Raimi, local chief; and Mr Victor A. Atilola, Executive Director of the Oyo State Agricultural Development Extension Program. On IITAs side, in attendance were Dr Ylva Hillbur, DDG Research and Dr Robert Asiedu, Director of Western Africa Hub. Dr Alexandre Dansi, Chair of TAC, and other TAC members also attended the event.On exhibit were posters and materials

    on novel technologies for high ratio propagation of seed tubers, seed yam propagation using minisetts and vine cuttings, yam breeding for value addition, yam virus diagnostics and other plant health issues, and some traditional and industrial products. New delicacies prepared by the IITA Crop Utilization Laboratory and the International House bakeshop were displayed for taste testing. This generated a lot of interest and intrigued the palates of guests and participants.

    At the event, farmers gave testimonies and evidence of the work they are doing with YIIFSWA which is already having an impact on their lives. They also raised concerns about the unavailability of seed for planting, pest and disease challenges, lack of market linkages, inadequate and improper storage techniques. Answers

    were given to questions by respective objective leaders with a concluding summary by Dr Asiedu, the father of yam.

    According to Project Manager Norbert Maroya, It was evident that research for development in the yam value chain is the key to addressing the interlocking economic, social, and environmental challenges that confront thousands of yam farmers and other stakeholders in West Africa.Celebrated for its sociocultural and

    economic importance, yam provides a key source of nutrition, is a symbol of heritage, and a livelihood source as a cash crop. It is the staple food of more than 60 million people and has the potential to lift 10 million West Africans out of hunger.

    Farmers wearing the YIIFSWA adire look at yam seeds.

    Guests queue to try roasted yam with various sauces.

  • page 2IITA Bulletin 2213

    DDG-PCD wants IITA Youth initiative replicatedDr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director-General Partnerships and Capacity Development, has reiterated the need for public and private institutions and policy makers to harness the opportunities in the agricultural sector to tackle youth unemployment.Giving a public lecture titled: Youth

    Economic Empowerment through Agriculture in Nigeria organized by the Dominican Institute in Ibadan, Dr Dashiell highlighted the challenges, and prospects of youth engagement in agriculture. He listed lack of capital and entrepreneurial skills, poor delivery of agricultural services, and poor access to markets, among others, as hindrances to the engagement of youth

    After the lecture, there was an exhibition of various products from the IITA Youth Agripreneurs, IITA Crop Utilization Unit, International House Pastry Unit, and the IITA aflasafe team. Those who accompanied Dr Dashiell included Chrys Akem, SARD-SC Project Coordinator; Godwin Atser, IITA Communication Officer (West & Central Africa); Olatunji Olayiwola, Resource Mobilization, Protocol, and External Liaison Officer; and members of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs.The Public Lecture Series organized

    by the Dominican Institute, Ibadan, aims to address global and national issues, drawing expertise from diverse stakeholders.

    Director for Western Africa, Robert Asiedu visits Ikene station

    The Director for Western Africa, Dr Robert Asiedu, made a tour of IITA research activities at Ikene Station in Ogun state, Nigeria.The Ikene Station, located in the humid

    forest agro-ecology, is owned by the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) in Nigeria but through a memorandum of Understanding, IITA is given a portion for its operation.

    research activities such as breeding for tolerance to drought, resistance to Striga, stem borers, and mycotoxin, among others. He also showcased the work being done with partners in disseminating improved maize hybrids and varieties through regional trials in West and Central Africa.At the cowpea and soybean fields, Dr

    Christian Fatokun, Cowpea Breeder, led the discussion on varieties being tested, and highlighted that breeding goals were aimed at meeting farmers preferred traits, resistance to pest and diseases, and yield, among others. The Ikene site is used mainly for cowpea and soybean seed increase during off season.Dr Asiedu was impressed by the quality

    of research being done at the station, and in particular, the performance of the crops, which suggests that they were well maintained.In a meeting, Dr Asiedu assured staff

    of the Institutes commitment to offering staff a conducive working environment and noted that their concerns would be given adequate attention.

    in agribusiness despite their inherent potential. Dr Dashiell presented the IITA

    Agripreneurs initiative as a case study on how agriculture could be used as a platform for unlocking jobs for the youth. According to him, the youth have

    the greatest enthusiasm and strength, and to harness such energy, providing necessary encouragement and an enabling environmentby both the private and public sectorsis crucial.On the way forward, Dr Dashiell proposed

    that the IITA Agripreneurs concept be expanded in Nigeria and beyond, and also advocated for policies that would rebrand agriculture and portray it as a vibrant and enterprising sector.

    Dr Ken Dashiell delivering his lecture at the Dominican Institute in Ibadan, Nigeria.

    The visit offered the Director the opportunity to see firsthand the research being done by IITA researchers at the station.Dr Asiedu visited the maize, cowpea,

    soybean, and cassava fields and also assessed the infrastructural needs of the station. He also interacted with staff.Maize Breeder Dr Silvestro Meseka

    explained the various ongoing

    Director Robert Asiedu and Dr Sylvestre Meseka at the Ikene Farm.

  • page 3IITA Bulletin 2213

    IITA Talent Development Grant initiative helped me in many areas -- Awobajo

    Mr Kayode Awobajo, Project Administration Manager based in IITA Ibadan, is one of those who benefited from the IITA Talent Development Grant (ITDG).

    With the support of the ITDG, Awobajo attended a training workshop on USAID Rules and Regulations: Grants and Cooperative Agreement in Johannesburg, South Africa last year.

    He described the training as a welcome development, and expressed profound gratitude to IITA for being selected as a beneficiary of the program.

    The program helped me in a lot of areas that will assist in attaining IITA goals, he said.

    Explaining that the initiative will help the participating staff to broaden their knowledge, Awobajo described the initiative as a morale booster for staff, while offering them the tools/skills to tackle emerging challenges facing Africa.

    I say a big thank you to the DG and his

    has again allocated a sum of US$40,000 for staff training this year. The grant will be awarded to NRS who want to gain advanced knowledge and improve their skills in their areas of specialization to enhance their productivity. A maximum of US$4000 will be awarded to each successful staff member after competitive selection.

    Interested staff are requested to fill out and submit the application form (found on the IITA Intranet) adhering strictly to the program rules. The deadline for submission of applications is 28 March.

    Upcoming eventsCentral Africa Hub Commissioning of IITA Science

    Building, 5 June, Bukavu, DR Congo